in the desert of our choosing

I came across these lines in Psalm 81 this morning:

"I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

"But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would have none of me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!"

And I thought of the experience of Israel when they were too afraid to enter the promised land when God offered it to them. Those people never got to enter it after that. They wandered in the desert for the rest of their lives. But, still, God did not abandon them.

God was with Israel throughout their wanderings, and protected and provided and guided them. God continued to work with the people and correct them and struggle with them. They were still with God, walking with him. It's just that they never got to experience all the good that God had offered to them; their lives were much different than if they had entered Caanan.

I imagine it is much the same with us, more often than we'd like to admit. But there is comfort in knowing that we can still live with God and continue to grow in our relationship with him, even after we reject much of the perfect Christlike life he offers us.

Obviously, though, it's much better to accept.